NOACs equally effective, but bleeding differs

IN ELDERLY patients with atrial fibrillation or venous thromboembolism, novel oral anticoagulants are just as effective as warfarin but have distinct bleeding patterns, a systematic review has found.

British researchers analysed data from 30,000 patients aged 75 or older in 19 randomised controlled trials.

Major bleeding was significantly less likely with apixaban and there was a non-significant increased risk with dabigatran, when compared with vitamin K antagonists (VKA).

Dabigatran caused more gastrointestinal bleeding but less intracranial bleeding than VKA.

Apixaban also had a lower risk of